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Raising biracial children
When we talk about biracial we often refer to both parents of completely different ethnic origins with different feature. E.g. White and black, or Asian and Hispanic. A child with one English parent and one Scottish parent may not be considered mixed race even though their parents are from different countries since both countries have a similar ethnic background (although debatable). I person who is half Jamaican and half Kittishan (St. Kitts) but would not be considered mixed race or biracial since both islands have people from the same background and almost the same physical features. One would be considered mixed race if a mix of ethnic facial features are evident from both parents. For children with one black parent this is very evident from the hair texture as it would be a more looser / relaxed version of the Afro, although some children can take strongly to one side of the gene and have a normal Afro and white skin.
How biracial children grow up
From a young age of course children are not aware of race or colour so much and toddlers are happy so play along with each other without caring about their skin colour and hair texture differences.
It becomes more evident when the children start elementary school. At this stage children become more and more conscious about their own and others appearance and begin to judge from appearances (however not all kids). This is the time where biracial kids or of a full ethnic origin begin to understand that certain groups are easier to get along with whereas others may not be so welcoming. Whether it's a good thing or bad is debatable however children will naturally form groups, those groups are formed basically from friendship but in many situations, race and gender has a lot to do with it. In my school we had Black Caribbean, Black African, White, Indian and Pakistani. In most of the classes it was obvious that the groups were formed from race. Mainly five groups.
Where does my child stand? The ideal way is not to be part of any group, however that would be very lonely in inner city schools with large ethnic diversity. Although you may want to bring up your mixed race child without thinking of race, the truth is, they will probably choose the one side. E.g. A biracial black/white child will in many cases may look black but with softer features and lighter skin due to the white parent and they would probably be more accepted in a black group then white but this depends of the individual. A lot has to do with the cultural influence of home. In the UK, the majority of mixed race kids I grew up with were living with their white mothers only and have little or no memory of their black father. Does this mean that they will grow up sounding white? Not at all, as I mentioned earlier their peers/friends were mainly black since they have a black appearance and find it comfortable in that group. However a mixed race white/black guy may be ridiculed at a young age if he sounds white. It's a cruel world.
In most cases the biracial children will be seen as the non-white or the most dominant (feature wise) in race. In an ideal world they shouldn't be seen as any colour but in the real world it is not so simple.
When the child parents speaks two different languages it is ideal and assumed that the biracial child will be bilingual. This is sometimes the case but not always. If the parents stick to only the one language at home the child will never grow up bilingual especially if their friends and family are 2nd generation and are comfortable with their birth country language. Academically, a child who is half white and hispanic may be expected to pass Spanish with no issues. If they fail, then it may cause the teacher to be disappointed. Just because you have certain ethnicity in your blood doesn't mean you have to behave or speak a certain way but the truth is, it does help in society when forming socials groups. I believe that it is important to expose the child to all cultures to some extent since Identity crisis can be an issue for a child when they grow up.
Even if both parents speak different languages, children will normaly just speak the language of the environment they are in. E.g. in Japan, a child born to a Japanese mother and an English father will probably speak Japanese 90% no matter how much the father speak English. Japanese does not have an English speaking environment. The only way the child will learn English is if the child has English speaking friends or goes to an international school. The father speaking English, in the evenings after work is not enough.
I know people who are half Japanese but speak almost no Japanese and have issues when coming to Japan and introduce themselves as e.g."Sato-san". Even though they may not be interested in learning the language, you can always sense some regret that they didn't pick it up as child. A lot non Japanese Asians tend to make a big effort in learning Japanese while ther in living in Japan. It is difficult to fully know a culture if you are functionally illiterate.
In the future I believe hybrid languages may also develop from mixed race communities when they pick and chose the most comfortable words and grammar from various languages to communicate in a newer mixed sounding language, a bit like Jamaican "Patois".
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